Vanarama National League North
Jonny Bonell reports from Aggborough
FOR THE second time this season, Worcester City went through the agony of having a result snatched from their grasp in the final seconds.
On August 22, Chorley left Aggborough 3-2 winners thanks to a last minute strike and today (Saturday) Curzon Ashton nicked a point as the clock struck its final few seconds to take a 2-2 draw back to Manchester.
The influential Lee Hughes’ brace – on his home debut – had twice put the hosts ahead and looked to be securing just their second victory of the season.
Daniel Shaw had once spoiled Worcester’s party by netting a 29th minute equaliser but it was substitute Jordan Wright who inflicted more pain as his 93rd minute strike bobbled over the outstretched hands of Nathan Vaughan.
The result leaves City still second from bottom and without a win in six games.
Without a win since August 15, Worcester made the perfect start and it was that man Hughes who showed his experience after seven minutes by latching on to George Nash’s long ball, shrugging off Andrew Watson’s challenge and slamming a low drive into the far corner.
Hughes’ on-going battle with Watson was arguably the best bit of viewing for the following 20 minutes as both sides stifled the opposition threat.
But with their first corner of the game the visitors levelled things up after 29 minutes as Vaughan could only half clear the delivery and it fell perfectly to Shaw who was on hand to smash home from just inside the box.
It could have been two in two minutes for Curzon but referee Michael D’aguilar cut short any Curzon joy when he deemed Vaughan had been fouled in the build-up to Gary Burnett bundling home Matthew Warburton’s low cross.
Both sides started to grow as the half wore on and had chances to take the lead but Daniel Nti’s clever lob over Hakan Burton was just too high of the bar before Simon Lakeland’s drive was beaten away by Vaughan.
There was controversy bang on half time as Nti appeared to foul Warburton in the box but Mr D’aguilar again proved unpopular with the Manchester-based side as he blew only for the interval and not a spot kick.
Hughes was proving a major thorn in the Curzon side and almost gave his new side the lead once more three minutes after the break when his half volley from just inside the box hit the midriff of Burton.
However, the former Coventry striker didn’t have to wait long to bag his – and Worcester’s – second of the afternoon when he got on the end of a superb Nti delivery from the right to head home.
As an Aggborough veteran, Hughes was loving his return to his former Kidderminster Harriers stomping ground and almost bagged a hat trick after 62 minutes when his looping header went just wide – that came after Nti’s effort was denied on the line by Watson.
Warburton and substitute Niall Cummins came close in a late Curzon charge but it was Hughes who could have extended the lead when he first headed marginally over the top before his clever flick was just too high.
And then came Wright, who picked the ball up from 25-yards and fizzed an effort which Vaughan got a hand on, but watched it hit the bottom corner of his net.